Before the flood
the problem of simple physics

I thought it might be vanity and in the end it made me cry


Yesterday I did something that took more courage then calling the attorney, which is what I decided to write about. I was studiously avoiding thinking about or discussing the other appointment because this falls smack in the middle of that territory called, 'We don't talk about it.'  Therefore it's fair game for writing material, right?  Really, even more we don't talk about it then deadbeat ex-husbands.

I'm a 43 year old athletic alpha female living in the middle of Stepford Land. I have, on more then one occasion, mentioned that I'm a good 30 to 40 pounds over the weight limit for females in my town; of any age. Now that in itself isn't saying much if you take a step back (or two).  I'm ten pounds heavier then the top end of my personal comfort zone, 20 pounds heavier then I'd like to be and just perfect as far as either of my docs are concerned. If I dropped 30 pounds I'd probably be all right but might suffer some bone density loss. If I dropped the 40 pounds that would put me in the 'just right' for this town category I'd have trouble getting through the day but damn, I'd look good if titless and emaciated is what you're after(?!). So it's all relative, right? 

I also have some very mixed feelings about the aging process.  For the most part I think we ought to age as we age taking care of our bodies and minds.  Botox freaks me out and collagen injections reduce me to fits of giggles (oh GROSS).  Liposuction is one of the most horrifying procedures I've ever witnessed (I watched it live on TV once, it was seriously GROSS).  Silicon implants frighten me so badly I have trouble breathing whenever I seriously contemplate them which is almost not at all since that one bad mammogram scare two years ago but being a flat chested athletic girl you better believe I'd have done just about anything for a pair of perky B cups. I mean really, guys, if you had a three or maybe even a two inch penis and it was on display for the world to see, wouldn't you be first in line for the penis extension surgery?  Or at least give it some serious thought if you spent your adolescence anywhere other then locked in a closet and home schooled.

Here's the mixed feeling part. I'm competing in a fairly competitive job market for a limited supply of very specific and highly paid technical positions. I can remember at the ripe old age of 32 before my tummy stopped being concave and before there was a single line on my face or a single ounce of unnecessary body fat or a single dimple of cellulite that I was very clear about the cosmetic surgery option if it meant staying current in the job market of my choice. Sometime between 32 and 43 the world went haywire and I went the other direction in terms of any kind of surgical intervention. I have to tell you, it absolutely repulsed me.

And then, sometime in the last two years, the first congenital boogy that actually bothered me showed up; the double chin.  It's not actually a double chin, per se, it's more like a pocket of fat that lives under the subcutaneous layer of skin lovingly (by somebody) referred to as the wattle. In other words, I look perfectly fine straight on with my head at a 90 degree angle to my body.  However, look at me in profile (it was never a strong profile chin or neck wise) or let me look down in the general direction of my lap and THERE IT IS!  Bastard.  I have discovered, and been told, that it is not going anywhere.

Open scene two on an advertisement in the Weston Forum for a process that basically involves shrink wrapping your body with lasers.  It's meant to tighten sagging skin. Well I thought about this for a few months and then had a word with Beloved as my birthday approached.  He gave me the gift of a consultation with this doctor in New Canaan. I did not tell anyone where I was going or whisper a word of my intention.  I simply got in the car when Beloved picked me up and rode silently into the center of New Canaan.

I wasn't exactly shaking as we walked up the stairs but I wasn't happy either.  I filled out the requisite paperwork, noted my intention to pay by check and sucked it up when the receptionist asked for my insurance card and then informed me that they didn't take Cigna. Well no shit, what insurance carrier pays for elective procedures?  We waited quietly for a few minutes and then the doctor came out.  The doctor was possibly in her mid fifties.  It was really hard to tell. She was pale as death but not starved, which I always consider a good sign in a doctor. She was just short of New Canaan elegance but you can forgive the slight trespass with a Harvard MD.

She took us into an examining room and sat me up on the table.  She asked what the problem was and I said, my neck, it has to go.  She knew what I meant immediately. 

It was all good right to that point.  I'm not even sure how the conversation really went or in what order or in what tone all I know is what I heard. 

'I. Can't. Help. You.'

Now, you can translate that (and I did) in a number of ways.  One; I'm beyond help.  Two; you don't really need my kind of help yet. Three; you need what I can't give you.  Yet.

I'll lesson the suspense by telling you now that she was really saying two things. First; I'm not ready for what she does.  Second; what I do need, today, and right now, is not something she's ready to offer.

But that's not what I heard.  What I heard was NO.  After all that internal psychodrama and angst I heard NO. Good lord, what do you mean NO?  You cannot be saying this to me.  I will accept that you might tell me I can't or won't afford it but you cannot be telling me NO. I didn't hear much for awhile.

For awhile I sat on the table like a six year old with a heinous and inoperable flaw and tried very hard not to cry. And then Alecto kicked in.

OK, listen, I don't do lipo and I don't do big cuts in my skin but I'm not going to sit here and not do anything about this.  What DO you recommend?  Botox. NO!  I don't want botox (which was just about the point where I registered the tell tail smoothness and lack of expression on her face). It's interesting, she never once suggested the dermabrasion my local pocket rats seem to love so much.

In the end it came down to something called Smartlipo.  Look it up if it's all that interesting to you but the bottom line is it's minimally invasive and does the shrink wrap thing while sucking out a very small pocket of fat and you're under only local anesthesia and the down time is minimal. The catch is it's been FDA approved for about 3 months. Good luck finding a board certified physician in your general area even if your general area happens to be Greenwich, CT. I am not flying to the UK to have the fat sucked out of my wattle. A girl's got to draw the line somewhere in terms of losing one's dignity and that's about where it falls for me.

Beloved drove me back to my office in silence.  I tried not to cry. In the end I made myself forget the indignities of my fat pocket by jumping buck naked into the indignities of re-divorcing my first husband.

36 hours later and I'm finally developing some perspective. I'm usually pretty good with perspective and I haven't let myself down this time.  I'm going to watch the internet and I'm going to take my time and when the time is right I'm going to plunk down a stupid amount of money and buy back some youth. 

I don't want to be 20.  I don't even want to be 30.  I want to be 38.  Precisely that. Enough age to have paid my dues and know what I know but not so much as to be worrisome in an interview. It doesn't matter how bright and open to new knowledge you might be, or how good your track record is when it comes to learning new languages in no time at all; if you are perceived as too old, then you are. Too. Old.

Damn, man, in my frame of reference 43 is positively infantile!  I figure I'm not likely to hit my full stride in terms of intellect and applied knowledge until I'm bloody 60!  And when I'm 60 I hope that bar raises to 80. The only question is how long I'll be able to sell the limited and unique commodity that I am and what I'll be willing to do to maintain that sale.